Richard Daniels, Studio Potter, Carreglefn, Anglesey
by Jo Quinney
Richard Daniels, studio potter, Creigiau Mawr Pottery, Carreglefn, Anglesey.
For studio potter Richard Daniels of Creigiau Mawr Pottery, in Carreglefn near Cemaes, the Isle of Anglesey provides not only the inspiration but also the raw materials.
On Saturday 23 March, Richard is throwing open the studio doors to welcome visitors to the Anglesey Arts Weeks Open Studios and Galleries 2013.
This is the tenth year that the Anglesey Arts Forum artists and craftspeople have opened their studios and galleries to visitors over Easter.
Last year, over 15,000 visitors came to the event to gain a unique glimpse of the artistic process. "We had far more visitors to the Creigiau Mawr Pottery last year, and the majority of visitors were from off the island, which was a surprise," says Richard.
Moving from his commercial pottery on the Wirral to Anglesey in 1994, Richard enjoyed walking and discovering the Island. "I do a lot of walking on the Anglesey Coastal Path and I found clay along the coastline.
I became interested in the geology and mineralogy of Anglesey with the assistance of the Parys Underground Group, Anglesey Industrial Heritage Trust and GeoMôn," says Richard.
Richard uses Anglesey clay to make his ceramics and puts local minerals in the glazes. "I have returned to digging my own materials. I use the ash from the studio’s wood-burning stove and I use local minerals in very small quantities. I must stress that you have to have permission to do this," says Richard.
He grew up next to a Wirral brick-clay quarry and played alongside the machinery. "I can remember playing with the brick clay as a child and I get the same feeling now with the malleability and softness. It sets off the endorphins in my brain and gives me pleasure. This still influences how I throw pots today," says Richard.
After leaving school, Richard studied industrial ceramics and worked in potteries in the UK and Europe. He returned to college, graduating with a commendation from the prestigious Harrow School of Art, Studio Pottery.
He successfully ran commercial potteries before coming to Anglesey to set up his studio pottery and qualify as a teacher. He has a love for the creativity of throwing pots and the technical requirements for glaze testing using his found materials.
"When I throw a pot on my kick wheel, I am part of the machine and I talk to the clay. When I test my glazes, I use my years of accumulated knowledge.
If a glaze needs to be glossier, I add potash, feldspar or flint. If it’s too runny, I add clay. I am still fixated with the whole process; it is a fascinating job to be in," says Richard.
Richard’s Creigiau Mawr Pottery is one of the many studios and galleries on Anglesey that you can visit this Easter. Funding from project supporters such as the Arts Council of Wales, Menter Môn and Anglesey County Council has allowed the development of the Anglesey Arts Forum website and the design, promotion, print and distribution of the Guide.
It has also enabled the project to receive funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007–2013, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
Anglesey Arts Weeks Open Studios are divided into Clusters to help artists work together in a locality. Richard is a member of the Northern Cluster. Artists in the Northern Cluster also include: Raymond Kerr, Helen Grove-White, Wil Rowlands, Anita Jane Ricketts, Tim Dickinson, Jacquie Myrtle
, Calx Creo, and Philippa Jacobs.
Using the forty-eight page colour Guide, you can plan to visit 3D artists such as Richard, David Jones, Helen Grove-White, or Jonathan Fairbairn. The Guide contains opening days, times, a map and a route planner, and it is available to download online at http://www.angleseyartsforum.org/.
"The pottery goes to sleep over the winter months. As we go into spring, the weather is more suitable for making pots and I start to build up to the Open Studios and Galleries Weeks. This is my first event this year and I am ready to welcome visitors," says Richard.
The event runs from Saturday, 23 March to Sunday, 7 April 2013. For further details, daily schedules, member profiles, images and information about the studios, go to: http://www.angleseyartsforum.org/en/aaw/.
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